Central, Devolved or Local Government

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Government Funding

Funding for Third Sector groups is available from central government departments, devolved government departments and local government. 

Central Government

Government departments can run funding programmes that support Third Sector groups undertaking projects which will have a national significance, or projects with a more local impact. In some circumstances the department itself won’t administer the scheme but may choose to contract out the administration of the scheme to an appropriate organisation.

Devolved Government

Local devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are now pivotal to the delivery of a range of funding. The work to provide funding directly but also through other local quangoes and agencies. Their departments support funding from Europe and deliver programmes that support Third Sector groups undertaking projects which will have a regional significance, or projects with a specific policy objective such as urban regeneration or community relations. 

Local Government

Local authorities or the new Northern Ireland super councils provide financial assistance to voluntary and community groups within their administrative area. The types of funding available will vary, depending on what the priorities of the local authority are and needs of the community. often they are to support community initiatives such as festivals and work in line with council strategies.

Funding and support are provided to groups by different council departments. Often there will be a number of departments, such as leisure and recreation, social services and the environment department. Funding will be targeted against each department’s priority areas, where they see the most need and where funding is likely to have the most impact.

The main features of Government funding are:

  • Government organisations give funding to further their own objectives or meet their statutory responsibilities; they don’t provide grants or loans just because they are sympathetic to a cause.

  • They are more likely (than company or trust funders) to fund an organisation’s core costs, although they are not keen to support groups indefinitely.

  • They are more likely to make larger grants or loans for longer.

  • They can be bureaucratic, have complicated monitoring systems and inflexible payment rules.

  • The process of decision-making may be drawn out and complicated, with several different stages to the application process. Applicants may need to convince both officers/staff and politicians.

  • There are likely to be publicly available guidelines/criteria and information about the way your application will be dealt with. There is also likely to be a special officer who you can talk to about your application.

Further information about Government departments and agencies, including local authority websites, can be found at the GOV.UK and Northern Ireland Executive websites.


A range of UK wide funding initiatives which can be accessed by local groups or nationwide charities.


Funding and support programmes delivered by devolved administrations and their departments


Local funding and grant schemes for projects, groups and festivals with a local community focus


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